Soft skills are anything but

Note: The following article was written by new BLI thought leader Jeff Nischwitz, founder of The Nischwitz Group, a training, consulting, and coaching company that helps professionals accelerate their results. The article originally appeared in Jeff’s “Daily Shift” e-newsletter. Read more about Jeff and his BLI programs here.


According to the Oxford Dictionary, soft skills are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” Wikipedia describes soft skills as “a combination of interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes, and emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), among others, that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.”

I’m not sure who came up with the label of “soft skills,” but this label has to go! Calling these skills “soft skills” causes us to see them as just that — soft. Soft skills are often viewed as expendable or nice to have, but not essential. Soft skills trainings are the first to be cut and the last to be invested in.

The truth is, soft skills are critical to achieving the effective communication, collaboration, accountability, engagement, and execution that organizations crave. These skills aren’t soft; they’re actually the sharp edge of leadership and execution.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to invest in and focus on these high-impact skills!


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